For Immediate Release
Contact: David Card
WASHINGTON, DC – The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) thanks Senator Bob Casey (PA), Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN), Representative Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-5), and Representative Jamie Raskin (MD-8) for reintroducing the Accessible Voting Act (AVA) today.
Even well into the 21st Century, voters across the country are still being denied equal access to the vote and this includes voters with disabilities. Critical laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) are in place to protect the rights of people with disabilities and their access to the vote. Yet states and jurisdictions across the country still make routine decisions every election cycle, knowingly or unknowingly, that prevent equal access on Election Day.
“Despite existing federal law protecting the rights of people with disabilities, far too often, these rights are overlooked and forgotten in our electoral process,” said NDRN Executive Director Curt Decker. ”The Accessible Voting Act seeks to bolster the protections for voters with disabilities, as established by the ADA and HAVA, and ensure equitable access to every American voter in our democracy for years to come.”
The AVA would further protect the rights of voters with disabilities by:
- Establishing a new Election Assistance Commission Office of Accessibility, which would support and oversee state efforts to expand voter accessibility and serve as a resource for advocates and voters.
- Adding a National Resource Center on Accessible Voting, that would provide cultural competency training to election officials and poll workers on how to create a truly accessible polling place.
- Creating guidelines on accessible ballot drop boxes.
- Establishing a new state accessible election website that would provide information about the voting process while designating a single state office to provide voter accessibility information.
- Requiring states to provide accessible means to register to vote online, and vote by no-excuse absentee and promote options to address adversely long lines and the use of mobile polling sites.
- Authorizing funding for states to implement voter accessibility upgrades at polling places and for research and development of accessible and secure voting equipment.
- Protecting individuals subject to guardianship and ensure their right to vote is not arbitrarily removed.
“We applaud Members of Congress for prioritizing voters with disabilities,” continued Decker.
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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.